The Expository Files


More Than Teaching

It is very difficult to overemphasize the value of teaching the truth to an individual. The very heart of the religion that Jesus presents to the world rests upon teaching. One is drawn to Christ through instruction. “No one can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” (John 6:44-45). As the passage clearly states, the drawing is not one of a miraculous process, but through a person being taught and learning of God. Where teaching has not been administered, drawing power has not been administered. In the great commission according to Matthew, Jesus pointed to teaching as a prerequisite of being saved and continued teaching of the saved regarding all things that Jesus had for them to observe. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. A-men.” (Matthew 28:19-20).

We need teaching and we need a great deal of it. It might be truthfully said that no one outgrows the need for teaching. On occasions, we say of some one that by the actions of that person it is evident that the individual needs teaching. I would suppose that all of us at one time or another have made such a statement. It could possibly be that the thing responsible for the person failing God was not in the lack of teaching, but a failure to manifest in their lives what is to accompany or follow teaching. There are those who have been taught. They can relate God’s instructions or His will toward them. They need something more than teaching.


To apply the teaching to themselves. So many hear the word, but they never seem to apply it to their own lives. Teaching that is of profit must be applied. When the Bereans were taught the word, “..they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily whether those things were so.” (Acts 7:11). Jesus condemned the Scribes and Pharisees for failing to make proper application to themselves. (Matthew 23:29-33). We need to examine our hearts with what is being taught. (II Corinthians 13:5).

Obedience to the truth that is taught. To be obedient to Christ, one must be taught what Christ expects in obedience. However, one may be taught and never obey the truth. There are those who stubbornly defy what the truth directs them to believe and do. Jesus said of some: “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. (Matthew 13:15). Effort had been made to instruct these people that they might obey the truth. They needed to open their hearts to the truth taught and conform their lives to the precious word of God. Teaching had been exerted upon them. They weren’t lacking in being taught. They lacked, as so many lack today, obedience to what had been taught them. James calls upon us to be more than hearers. We are to be doers of the word. “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (James 1:22-25). There is certainly no profit in hearing only! Those who were baptized on Pentecost day in Acts 2 were those “that gladly received His word.” (Acts 2:41). We need an obedient reception of the truth that has been taught us.

Conviction for the truth taught. Conviction requires courage and effort. It is not by following the course of least resistance. The failure of some is not due to a lack of teaching. It stems back to a lack of conviction for the truth that they have been taught. One may be able to quote the Bible from Genesis through Revelation, but what good is it to his soul salvation if he doesn’t make an application of it to himself in obeying the truth and having enough conviction to stand for it in love? Paul said with conviction: “…I am set for the defense of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:17). He wasn’t sitting on the fence. He was set for a DEFENSE OF THE GOSPEL. It is highly possible that individuals excuse themselves and others for their lack of convictions by saying that they need teaching. If one means that they need teaching to develop convictions, we find no particular argument with that conclusion. However, there are some who have been taught the truth from their youth that have no convictions for it. May we never minimize teaching! We need more and more teaching, but may we also appreciate the fact that there are other factors and principles that must accompany and follow teaching.

Susquehanna Sentinel, Feb 5, 2006, Marietta, PA

By Bobby K. Thompson
From Expository Files 13.3; March 2006